After knocking out the Bruins in five games, the Lightning kept the momentum going with an impressive 8-2 victory over the Islanders in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite not playing for a week the Lightning showed no signs of slowing down and took advantage of an Islanders team that had only a couple of days to prepare for Game 1.
Scoring starts early
Tampa Bay wasted no time by scoring in the first 90 seconds of the game. Brayden Point ripped the puck past Thomas Greiss to give the Lightning an early 1-0 lead. The Islanders would answer back minutes later with a goal on their first power play of the night. Jordan Eberle fired the puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game at 1. The remainder of the period would be dominated by the Lightning offense. Hedman answered back with a power play goal of his own to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead. Minutes later Ryan McDonagh would add to the lead with his first goal of the playoffs with a nice slap shot past Greiss. Following the goal the Islanders made a goalie change replacing Greiss with Semyon Varlamov. Neither team scored for the remainder of the period, but Tampa would keep their foot on the gas pedal.
Dominating on both ends of the ice
The Lightning would keep the scoring going in the 2nd period with a goal from Yanni Gourde 4:03 in the period. Initially, play continued for a few seconds after the goal because it was not clear if the puck crossed the red line. But the horn sounded stopping play and indeed it was confirmed that the Lightning had scored a goal. Point would get his second of the night on the power play after perfectly tipping in a shot by Hedman to make the score 5-1. The Islanders tried to get the offense going, but could not answer the strong play of the Lightning defense. The Lightning defense made sure the Islanders never had a chance to get back into the game and keep the game under Tampa’s control.
For the remainder of the period the Islanders kept the Lightning from adding to their lead, but the Lightning offense continued to be a problem for the Islanders heading into the 3rd period.
Kucherov makes history
The third period would end up playing out just like the previous two. Goals galore for the Lightning, and the defense for the most part kept the Islanders from scoring. Nikita Kucherov scored 5:51 in the 3rd to further extend the Lightning lead. With that goal Kucherov passed teammate and captain Steven Stamkos for most playoff goals in franchise history. Islanders finally found an answer to the Bolts defense with a goal from their captain, Nick Leddy minutes after the Kucherov goal. Unfortunately for the Islanders this would be the only goal they would score for the remainder of the game, and the Lightning kept the scoring going.
Goals never stop arriving
Ondrej Palat quickly answered the Leddy goal with a wrist shot that found its way past Varlamov giving the Lightning a 7-2 lead. The Lightning took advantage of another power play with another goal from Gourde. The game ended with a final score of 8-2 and would be a game the Islanders would like to bury in the past. The Lightning look to keep the winning ways going while the Islanders look to bounce back in Game 2 Wednesday night.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star – Brayden Point: 2 goals and 3 assists
2nd Star – Nikita Kucherov: 1 goal and 4 assists
3rd Star – Victor Hedman: 1 goal and 2 assists
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